The PK Man: A True Story of Mind over Matter

The PK Man: A True Story of Mind over Matter

By Jeffrey Mishlove
Charlottesvllle, VA: Hampton Roads, 2000. Paperback, xx + 283 pages.

Jeffrey Mishlove is a parapsychologist, author of the classic work, Roots of Consciousness (1975) and of Psi Development Systems (1983) and, among other things, the gifted host of Thinking Allowed, the acclaimed public television interview series on new thought and consciousness (in production since 1986). In this book he chronicles and meticulously documents an engrossing story of a powerfully talented psychic, Ted Owens, who called himself "The PK Man" (PK standing for psychokinesis), whose life and career Mishlove personally studied for some years until Owens's death in 1987. Owens's activities were also carefully followed at different times by other scientific researchers (a urologist, a clinical psychologist, an astronomer, and several noted physicists) and by several journalists. Mishlove cites their independent testimony.

Owens predicted or caused the occurrence of a variety of spectacular events, including thunder and lightning, snowstorms, earthquakes, droughts and hot spells, drought-relieving or freezing rains, floods, tornados, power failures, volcanic eruptions, the technical failure of human machinery, strange turns in sporting events, and the summoning on command of UFOs into the field of vision of spectators. The question whether the human mind can exert a direct influence on distant physical systems with no known mediation has long been debated. But if this power does exist, its implications are, as Mishlove says, "staggering in every way-philosophically, scientifically, sociologically, spiritually, and most importantly, in terms of how we know and understand ourselves." Owens claimed that none of his demonstrations were the result alone of his own psychic abilities but always involved assistance from or commands of Space Beings or Space Intelligences-his SIs, as he called them. Mishlove asks, "Was Owens really in touch with extra dimensional beings existing in some hyperspace dimension ... or were they a delusion that Owens had built up in his mind in a desperate attempt at self-understanding?"

This story in fact raises many questions psychological, scientific, parapsychological, ethical, social, philosophical, and metaphysical. Mishlove's approach is interdisciplinary. To give just one example: the idea of hyperspace beings is, of course, totally unacceptable from the viewpoint of scientific materialism. But it is not inconsistent with insights of physics concerning hyperspace, as in superstring theory, nor with many biblical accounts, nor with metaphysical ideas of mystics of today and of the past, nor with some commonly held ideas of shamans.

Owens used his powers inappropriately, even very destructively, in some instances. Mishlove points out, however, that Owens lived and operated within a world that offered him little in the way of support or understanding, and that his efforts to use psychokinesis for human benefit were met with sarcasm and ridicule. "This is a situation faced today by thousands of talented intuitives, psychics, shamans, healers, and seers," he writes.

As here told, this story is a page-turner. Above all, it heightens one's perception that to be a human being is to "wield the dual powers of awareness and intention, every waking and dreaming moment." And it arouses a resolve to "practice mental hygiene" with regard to one's own "stream of consciousness."


January/February 2003